The 6 pillars of watermanship









This is the most important aspect of watermanship training. Some might refer to it as "mindset" or "mental preparedness". ⁠ Whatever name it goes by, this principal will support all the others: if this fails so will the rest.⁠ It is founded on an underlying question: How strong is your mind? ⁠ Panic, irrational fear and negative thoughts will lead to disaster, therefore effective watermen/women need to understand, learn, adapt and overcome these boundaries.⁠


The second most important aspect of watermanship is oxygen. Or - more specifically - understanding our relationship with and without it!⁠ Applying training principals that allow us to use oxygen more efficiently within the body and ensure recovery from activity as fast as possible is undeniably important in watermanship.⁠ Understanding the science behind breath hold and applying it to specific training is the key to taking your watermanship to new levels.⁠


This important element of watermanship can be summarised by the phrase "Train in the stimulus”. ⁠ A waterman's playground is the ocean, the rivers and the lakes that he/she desires to be in as much as possible. ⁠ Therefore, training conducted in this playground will allow the body to the stresses that will inevitably be encountered, allowing you to become an expert in your craft.⁠


The flexibility component of training is not only focused on injury prevention, but (almost more importantly) the flexibility of your muscles to help conserve oxygen and maintain a relaxed state whilst under stress.⁠ Those who are relaxed, supple and prepared will be more effective watermen and women!⁠


Having the ability to equalise your ears, to understand the principals of positive, neutral and negative buoyancy and understanding and controlling airspaces in your body and equipment are essential tools of the waterperson. ⁠ However, this understanding is not simply enough: through practice, you need to learn to use them to your advantage and become familiar with the feeling of water pressure and the disorientation of depth.⁠


When it comes to watermanship, strength is very specific. The power needed to paddle through a  barrage of sets, the ability to swim through confused seas and aerated water or the ability to rescue  an unconscious patient in surf and high seas: these are just a few examples of specific strength.